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In this regard, it is important to note that, other than for a few far-fetched plots, no attacks against Italy were planned by established networks in the period despite a number of plots targeting other European countries. Things changed in October , when the Libyan national Mohammed Game attempted to enter a military base in Milan. When confronted by the guard, he detonated an explosive device he carried, severely injuring himself and lightly wounding the guard.

The ensuing investigation led to two North-African men who had helped Game with his plot. The new cases Despite the novelty, it is questionable whether Game can be considered a case of home-grown radicalisation. Although he was radicalised in Milan, Game grew up in Libya and moved to Italy only as an adult. Yet a handful of cases that have surfaced over the last few years do present clear-cut home-grown characteristics, underscoring how the phenomenon has now reached Italy. Operation Niriya, a lengthy investigation into a network of Italian converts operating online, led the authorities to Mohamed Jarmoune, a young Moroccan-born man living in Niardo, a quiet mountain town in the province of Brescia.

As they wrapped up the case against Jarmoune, the authorities stumbled upon another young man of Moroccan descent who, like Jarmoune, lived with his well-integrated family in a small rural town near Brescia. Concerned by the increased militancy of his online activities and by the fact that he had looked at various iconic sites in Brescia online, the authorities decided to arrest El Abboubi.

In August he created a new Facebook profile under the name Anas al-Italy and posted several pictures of himself shooting or posing with heavy weapons. Another active member of the Italian online jihadist scene was in the spotlight in June , when news was released that Giuliano Ibrahim Delnevo had died in Syria.

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Born in Genoa in , Delnevo had grown up in a middle-class family and had converted to Islam in He sought them online and in European countries with a more highly-developed Salafist scene. By , Delnevo was actively trying to join jihadist groups but was struggling to find the right contacts to do so. He reportedly died while fighting alongside a Chechen-led brigade of foreign fighters. The characteristics of Italian home-grown jihadism The current panorama of jihadism in Italy is extremely fragmented and diverse, marked by the presence of various actors with very different features.

Three cases do not make a trend, but there are indications that these cases are not isolated incidents but, rather, the most visible manifestations of a bigger phenomenon.

Immigration, Acculturation, and Adaptation

Home-grown jihadism in Italy is, so far, a substantially smaller phenomenon than in most central and northern European countries. Providing exact numbers is an impossible task, but, according to research conducted by the author and conversations with several senior Italian counterterrorism officials, it can be argued that the individuals actively involved in this new home-grown jihadist scene number around 40 to Similarly, it can be argued that the number of those in various ways and in varying degrees sympathising with jihadism is somewhere in the lower hundreds.

It is, in substance, a small milieu of individuals with varying sociological characteristics age, sex, ethnic origin, education and social condition who share a commitment to jihadist ideology. Most of them are scattered throughout northern Italy, from big cities like Milan and Bologna to tiny villages. A few are located in the centre or the south of the country.

It should be clarified that most of these individuals have not been involved in any violent activity. Most of them limit their commitment to jihadist ideology to an often frantic online activity aimed at publishing and disseminating material that ranges from the purely theological to the operational. While this activity at times represents a violation of the Italian penal code, most prospective home-grown Italian jihadists are just that —hopefuls— and do not resort to violence. Yet, as the cases of Jarmoune, El Abboubi and Delnevo show, some members of this country-wide informal scene occasionally make —or attempt to make— the leap from the keyboard to the real world.

Why, when and how that leap from virtual to actual militancy happens is the subject of much debate and concern among counterterrorism officials and experts. It is possible to identify some characteristics that are common to this new scenario. The first is their detachment from Italian mosques. In some cases home-grown militants do not frequent them of their own volition, either because they consider them not to be in tune with their interpretation of Islam or because they fear surveillance by the authorities.

But, in most cases, it is mosque officials who make it clear to the militants that certain views and activities are not tolerated on their premises. There are various factors that might explain this. One appears to be the linguistic barrier between the two groups. While militants of the first generation are largely North Africans whose native language is Arabic and whose fluency in Italian is often limited, the home-grown activists have the opposite characteristics, often hampering communication between the two.

But arguably more important in explaining the disconnection between the two groups is the diffidence with which traditional structures view the new home-grown generation. The secretive and risk-averse traditional structures, in fact, appear unreceptive to the newcomers. It is likely that they might suspect some of the home-grown activists, particularly Italian converts, to be spies seeking to infiltrate them.

Many of them, in fact, dress long white robes, military fatigues, long beard… or act in extremely conspicuous ways. They often openly express their radical views online or in various public venues. This sort of conduct, which inevitably attracts the attention of the authorities, makes the new home-grown activists extremely unattractive to the eyes of traditionalists. Completely at odds with mainstream mosques and Islamic organisations, shunned by established jihadist networks and operating as individuals or small clusters throughout the national territory, Italian home-grown activists have created their own scene, which is mostly Internet-based.

It is, in fact, on various blogs, Facebook and other online social media that this tiny community comes together.

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A handful of individuals are the key connectors in this scene, being extremely active online and, in some cases, also in the real world and in constant communication with many other online users. Unlike most of the militants of the first generation, who were only passive consumers of online propaganda, this new generation of home-grown activists are also often active producers of their own jihadist material.

Median age at first birth is one year earlier for first-generation immigrants from Africa, and 0. Note that these differences tend to persist among second-generation women from Africa and Maghreb who still have their first child 0. Censored median regression estimates Chernozukhov to deal with censoring of women not having children at their current age.

Results show that first-generation immigrants tend to marry more and earlier than native individuals.

This difference is especially large for individuals coming from Europe and Southern Europe, and for individuals coming from Maghreb. The probability of being married at age 25 is 7. This can be compared with an average probability of being married at age 25 of 27 per cent in our estimation sample. The difference between immigrants and natives is greatly reduced for the second generation.

It is even reversed for second-generation immigrants from Maghreb, who have p. Among immigrants from Maghreb, only women seem to be more likely to be married when they are young with a higher probability of 2.

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Logit estimates: marginal effects at the mean. Sample: all individuals being or having been married. This section explores the frequency of inter-ethnic marriage. We distinguish three categories: a marriage with a native spouse, a marriage with a spouse who comes from the same country of origin, grouping together spouses from first and second generation, and marriages with non-native spouses coming from a different country of origin. We distinguish the exogamy rates among first and second-generation respondents.

The proportion of immigrants whose spouse or partner comes from the same country of origin either first or second generation is naturally higher for first-generation immigrants.

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The endogamy rates are equal to 74 per cent for first-generation Maghrebin, 69 per cent for first-generation African, 85 per cent for first-generation immigrants from Turkey or Middle East, and 79 per cent for first-generation immigrants from Asia. When we turn to immigrants from other European countries, the endogamous marriage rate is also higher than marriage rates with natives.

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But as Table 2. Immigrant women of the first and second generations do not seem to get married younger than French natives. Their age at the first child is not significantly lower than that of French natives, except for the first-generation immigrants from Maghreb, where the age gap is on average 2 years older than for native couples; and up to 3. The age difference between spouses is statistically different for first-generation immigrants from Maghreb, but not for the second generation. However, when one distinguishes endogamous couples where both spouses come from the same country from exogamous ones, the difference is persistent and statistically significant, even for second-generation immigrants the age difference is about two years older than for French native couples.

'Pack your bags!' Italy cracks down on migration

Another way immigrants are thought to be different from the French native is the level of education and the attitudes towards gender equality in education. We document these education patterns, focusing on the sample of individuals older than 26 years and who have left education. We first measure the gap in educational attainment of immigrants relative to French natives.


We measure the evolution of this gap between different birth cohorts of immigrants and waves of immigration. We start by regressing the age they left full-time education on dummies for the country of origin of first and second generations.

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  • Native French are the reference group. The controls are a quadratic in year of birth, time dummies for the different waves of the survey, and region dummies. The x-axis reports the coefficients for second-generation immigrants and the y-axis reports the coefficients for the first-generation immigrants.

    First-generation immigrant men from Africa, Northern Europe and Eastern Europe are one or two years older when leaving full-time education than their native counterparts, who themselves leave education when they are on average around First-generation immigrant men from Southern Europe and Turkey are on average three years and one year younger than native men, respectively, when they leave education, while immigrants from the Maghreb and Asia are of about the same age. These are the coefficients on dummy variables in a censored linear regression. The outcome variable is age left full-time education.

    The other covariates included are a polynomial in year of birth, region dummies, and time dummies. Sample aged 16—64 including students for which the dependent variable is top-coded at the current age. Reported standard errors are robust. All other groups are significantly younger than both native women and their male immigrant counterparts. Immigrants from Maghreb are almost one year younger, and immigrants from Southern Europe are three years younger. But there is an important improvement from the first to the second generation in terms of educational attainment, in particular among the groups which were the most disadvantaged in the first generation.

    Second-generation Asian women are performing outstandingly well, with an edge of 1. Second-generation women p. Clustered standard errors at the individual level in parentheses. We focus on second-generation immigrants and compare the educational gap relative to natives among the young generation, born after , and the old generation born before We run two separate regressions for the two different cohorts, taking the native as the reference group for each generation. Among natives, the average age they left full-time education is Relative to natives, the young second-generation immigrants are sometimes performing worse than the older cohort.

    Take the case of immigrants from Maghreb, who have an edge of 0. Naturally, this evolution does not mean that the younger cohort is less educated than the old one in the particular case of immigrants from Maghreb, the younger cohort is educated for one year more than than the old one , but the gap relative to the natives has increased. The same is true for immigrants from Turkey.